Avital and Ben are waiting to welcome a child into their heart and home through open adoption. Learn more about them!
Dear Birth Family,
Thanks for taking the time to get to know us a little bit. We imagine this process may be really hard for you, and we appreciate your strength and courage. We’ve done our best to be ourselves and let you into our lives, so that you can make whatever decision is best for you.
Openness is really important to us, and we’d really like to have an open and honest relationship with you, but we also want to be sensitive to your needs and preferences. Because we want to be upfront with our child about how they came to be a part of our family, you will always be a part of their story. So, we hope that you’ll consider whether you’d want to extend your family to include us.
We met in graduate school in 2013 and have been inseparable ever since. After graduating, we spent a great year together in Madrid before moving to Illinois, buying a house, and starting work as professors. We’re lucky to have jobs we love, family we get to see often, an incredible circle of friends and colleagues, a funky house, and an adorable cat named George. Most recently, our desire to adopt, and working through this process, has brought us even closer together. We can’t wait to see what adventures lie ahead as we grow our family.
Avital was born in Israel and moved to the Midwest as a young kid. She gained a lot from straddling both worlds, and her experience as an immigrant informs her academic interests in identity politics. Although she came from an academic family, Avital considered a lot of different career options, but her love of teaching and puzzle-solving ultimately brought her back to university life.
Some fun facts about Avital:
- Outside of work, she loves tackling creative projects in the kitchen or around the house. She’s grade-A obsessed with crossword puzzles.
- Avital loves working out, and not just for the yoga pants, although that’s a major plus!
- Because she’s short and makes lots of silly faces, kids often mistake Avital for a big kid. They get confused when they see her driving a car.
Ben was born in Seattle but grew up in Massachusetts, with his parents and sister. He inherited a love of travel from his family and spent 2 years living in New Zealand during graduate school. Because he asks lots of questions and dissects the answers, Ben’s mom jokes that he was born to be a lawyer, but he found his place in philosophy, helping students understand the value of democracy.
Some fun facts about Ben:
- He reads a lot – juggling 4-5 books at a time, on a variety of topics – but his main interests center around questions of ethics and justice.
- Ben’s been a vegan for almost 20 years, and he and Avital donate a percentage of their incomes to charity every year.
- He loves being outdoors and schedules a back-packing trip with friends at least once a year.
A Day in Our Life
We’re both really routine-oriented people. During the workweek, we like to get up early, enjoy a cup of tea together, and meditate. Weeknights and weekends are a great mix of quiet time at home — in the kitchen or the garden — and getting together with friends. We’re lucky to be able to walk to work, and our offices are just down the hall from each other. Our jobs are inherently flexible, which makes it easy to work from home and travel, but it will also be really helpful when it comes to raising a child.
Although we don’t have family in town, we’re lucky that we get to see our families often. Avital’s parents live a few hours’ drive from us, and her brother and his family live on the East coast in the same city as Ben’s parents and sister. We get a chance to see everyone on the coast at least once a year, around Christmastime, when all the nieces and nephews, from both sides, gather at Ben’s parents’ house. We are really close to Ben’s aunt and uncle in California and travel to see Avital’s extended family in Israel once or twice a year.
We’re lucky there’s no tug-of-war over holidays: we spend American holidays like the 4th of July with Ben’s, and Jewish holidays like Passover with Avital’s. But both sets of in-laws also like the opportunity to get together as a group, as we did for our graduation.
Since moving to Illinois, we are lucky to have developed incredible friendships. We see different sets of friends regularly, and everyone is excited to welcome our kid to the group. We also maintain close friendships from before our times here, including Avital’s childhood friends in Israel and Ben’s network of friends from New Zealand and California. We vacation every other year with our dearest friends and their twin girls, who can’t wait to play with their new “cousin.”
We live in the middle of our small city, across the street from the middle & high schools, and a couple blocks away from the elementary school. Our house is actually an old farm, built in the 1860s, which has been well-preserved over the years. We’ve got lots of space inside — a big farmhouse kitchen, three bedrooms, two full baths — and also 2/3 of an acre outside. The third member of our household is our cat, George. Although a cat, George is actually quite dog-like: she waits for us at the back door whenever we come home and follows us around from room to room!
Our Hopes for our Child
As first-time parents, we each bring different things to the table. Avital excels in emotional sensitivity and has a knack for structure and routine, while Ben has a love of exploration and has incredible patience when it comes to addressing children’s (endless) questions and complaints. Though we are quite different, we share a commitment to open communication and compromise. This includes the way we want to approach our child’s adoption story. We hope our child is able to know and celebrate their unique experience, and we welcome an open relationship with their birth family.
As our families instilled in us, we hope we can help our child to see themselves as part of a larger picture, to develop empathy for others and a commitment to supporting those less fortunate. At the same time, we hope our child can be attuned to their own intellectual and emotional needs and will always remain their own person. May they be able to know themselves and to ask for help when they need it.
Thank you for taking the time to get to know us a little bit. Of course, we couldn’t cover everything about us, but we’re happy to share any other information that would be helpful to you.
We haven’t had a chance to learn anything about you yet, and we recognize there’s a lot that we don’t know, but we want to say how much we appreciate what you’re going through. We imagine that some parts may be really difficult, and we wish you the very best, whatever the outcome might be.